Wale’s great track is like a needle in an… Um… Ricka*

wale_back_to_the_feature

little nut jobs come swarmin’ the village up

Wale – Um Ricka f. K’Naan (prod Mark Ronson)

If you know Wale chances are you know he recently dropped another acclaimed mixtape on the world, Back To The Feature. Tons of praise has been slathered on the mixtape but I’m just not feelin’ it. It’s bloated, the beats leave me bored, and half way through I just wish I had Dave Chapelle’s Wrap It Up box to use. If you can make it to track 21 (!?) you are in for treat. “Um Ricka” (Butchered pronunciation of ‘America’) stands out for its mellow horns and groovy piano, and the more I listen the better it all gets. Unfortunately for Wale I feel that the track’s awesomeness is mostly due to the stellar production by Mark Ronson and the killer verses by K’Naan. My expectations for Wale’s forthcoming debut LP Attention Defecit are waning by the moment.

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* It’s closer than you think.

Listen to Back To The Feature after the jump. Recommended before you download.

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«Flashback« Better Than Ezra – Good

Better thanDeluxe

searching for signs of life but there’s nobody home

Better Than Ezra – Good / 1995

I was at the House Of Blues tonight and saw that these guys were coming to town. Totally thought they were broken-up/dead but I guess their 6th album just came out. Good for them, GOOD for them. Get it, get it? Oh boy, good jokes and GREAT songs. That “Whahaww” is still one of the catchiest noises in a song. Funny thing, Better Than Ezra have still never disclosed the origins of their name. Only reason for that is the story sucks. Oh well.

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The Glass Wanna Be Dancin’. Me too.

wanna be dancin

driven frantic by the tale, had to run, had to bail

The Glass – Wanna Be Dancin’

It’s the weekend yo! I certainly don’t wanna be workin! Berlin/NYC duo The Glass have cooked up this smoothed out jam that makes me wanna close my eyes and spin in circles at 3am. Or dance. Really, either way I’m stoked. You?

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Hockey frightens me, but maybe I just need to Learn To Lose(en) up

mindchaos

don’t know which came first the promise or it’s reverse

Hockey – Learn to Lose

Hockey the band, dummy! Yeah it’s a weird name for a band but after you listen to their jams you wont mind. I certainly don’t. Heck, for the first time ever I have been able to utter the phrase “I like Hockey.” The rollicking quartet hail from the unlikely city of Portland but fortunately left the Northwestern tradition of gloomy-skied navel-gazing at the door and bring the heat on their debut Mind Chaos. Swinging drum beats, screeching guitars, rock-solid hooks, well placed female back up vocals, and even some horns roll together to create an album that is as diverse as it is rocking. Second single “Learn To Lose” may be my favorite track but it’s a damn tough call. First single “Too Fake” (below) is solid too, but took longer to grow on me. Browsing their MySpace and noting their .co.uk domain address and mostly UK tour dates it seems that these dudes are getting more love across the pond, which is no surprise considering their sound. It almost seems like the US can’t handle upbeat music unless it’s straight vamped up Top 40. How do you explain the lack of stateside love for bands like The Maccabees, Jamie T, and fellow Americans Iglu & Hartly? Your loss America, your loss…

Hockey – Too Fake

Mind Chaos comes out August 24th. Did I mention it’s a killer album? Oh, and stay tuned for a great “Learn To Lose” remix in the next roundup. Hells yeah.

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Kennedy is using some kind of aural Karate on me

Kennedy

i like to drive into the sun, i like it when you sit in gum

Kennedy – Karate

Woaaaahh!! Where has this song been all my life? The mid-week blues just got obliterated! The party starts today! Right now! Ok ok, anyway, so I was thinking about posting this yesterday and then I thought I should simmer on it a bit first. After listening to it on repeat almost all day I grabbed the album, Kennedy’s third, Life Is A Party. It’s tough to kick off your album with a jam as fresh as “Karate” because after that everything kind of pales. To me the album has the Electric Six syndorome; lot’s of upbeat party fun and silly/funny lyrics but is ultimately forgettable. While I can’t fully reccomend the album, I stand strongly behind “Karate” as the next summer/driving/party anthem!

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In Endeavors’ album art needs a Private Eye to find it

inendeavors

there’s a fight going on and it’s to gain trust

In Endeavors – Private Eye

First of all, In Endeavors don’t sound like a UK electro remix duo as their logo makes me think. Nor do they sound like they just lost their dog and their truck as their Kentucky locale makes me think. By now you have pressed play so you don’t need me to explain but put simply they rock. I discovered In Endeavors at the end of last year (from IGIF) and then proceeded to keep their super-jam “Private Eye” all to myself. I even almost wrote about them in March. Then, today, as I am feeling particularly generous I decide to spread the love. A quick Google search later reveals that the Lexington Kentucky 5-piece broke up in May. Shit. Most of In Endeavors remains in a new form as Art Tongues but I am too bummed (lazy) to investigate further. I am happy to just keep Private Eye on repeat and let it’s swinging guitars and driving drums bounce me to a better mood. I mean come on, who can resist a good “ahhh Ahhh AHHH” build up?

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The Checks can rock my Ballroom anytime, Baby

The Checks

whatchoo want from me baby?

The Checks – Ballroom Baby

After yesterday’s artwork fiasco I felt I had to hit you all with some mind bending awesomeness. Well, here it is, the cover for the new album by New Zealand’s The Checks and how about some mind bendingly awesome music to go along with it? Hmmm? How’s that treat you? The Checks were introduced to me by TBE reader Jared and after finally getting around to tracking down their sophomore album (not easy) I was pretty blown away by Alice By The Moon. This thing is solid rock and roll with just enough swampy dirt to suck you in and just enough hooks to pull you back out again. Crunching guitars and creeping beats that have look to put Alice By The Moon on my year’s best albums list so far.For reals. It was no easy task picking 1 or 2 songs to share here. Jared recommended Alice‘s opening three, “Bagheera,” “You And Me,” and “Crows,” and while they are great it was “Ballroom Baby” sitting at track 4 that really gave me pause. Holy smokes. Then it’s just wham bam through the rest of the 13 tracks. Some more dancey, some more dirty, some sounding like what The Dead Weather should sound like (as opposed to just being bad), and some with epic guitar solos.

The Checks – Isabella

Don’t make me beg, go buy this album. If you have your own music blog and dig this magic then pass on the love. These guys are being screwed by geography but it is really us non-New Zealanders that are the victims. A damn shame. OK, enough from me, I have their debut LP Hunting Whales to track down…

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«Flashback« Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s

DeepBlueSomething

the only one who knew me, and now your eyes see through me

Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s / 1995

Holy crap, that album art is repulsive. I had never seen it until putting together this post and man do I embed it with a cringe. At least Deep Blue Something nailed it on this folky alt-jam and we can all focus on that memory instead. I’m not sure which is better, the song or the movie, but that’s only ’cause I have never seen the movie. Criminal, I know, but I have to imagine staring at Audrey Hepburn doing anything is better than looking at the fridge-reject art project above. I tried to pull this song out at Karaoke a while back and I have to say I did not do it justice. But hey, half the reason I started these Flashbacks is to brush up on my Karaoke jams so let’s hope next time will be smoother sailing. For both of us.

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